They waited until we got to the dog park before they dropped the bombshell. They’re splitting up! My dad is moving out of the house this weekend! I had no idea their marriage was in trouble. Of course, I’m easily distracted by a Milk Bone, so I haven’t paid a lot of attention to their relationship. But to make such a drastic decision without letting me weigh in? I am an important member of this family!

So, they told me I’m staying in the house with my mom because of the doggie door and the yard. Dad is getting an apartment nearby. Will I ever see him again? How can he leave me? Is any of this my fault? I know I chewed up the corner of the couch, but that was two years ago when I was young and foolish. I’m older and wiser now and would never do that.

What happens when Dad takes the kids for the weekend? Who will be home to play with me? Who will take me to the dog park? I know I’m worrying about a lot of things, but what terrifies me is that my Dad won’t love me anymore. What if he moves in with another woman and she has, heaven forbid, HER OWN DOG?

My mom told me that courts typically consider pets as personal property, and that they don’t like to waste time talking about us. “Waste time!” That’s so insulting! If a judge asked me for my opinion, I’d suggest that my mom and dad go to a Mediator instead of to court. Mediators don’t consider talking about us to be a waste of time. In fact, Mediators will spend extra time helping moms and dads discuss adding a provision into their parenting plan about visitation with us. Often times, when kids visit their non-custodial parent (I know, big hyphenated word for a mere animal to use), they take us with them. It seems like a great idea to me! I get to ride in the car, I get to see what my dad’s been up to, and I don’t have to say goodbye to the kids. Plus, my mom gets a break from me!

In conclusion, I’d like to remind divorcing couples that their pets should have a voice too. And since we can’t actually talk, it seems like a good idea to have a neutral Mediator ask about our needs. We are a family, and we’ll always be a family even after our parents get divorced.